This week, the final week, I got to end my experience teaching English Language Arts. I was super excited to get to finish off teaching my favourite subject. I was also excited to try out an idea I had worked on since my teaching my first ELA lesson. I taught my class how to write flashbacks. I went over why we use flashbacks in our writing, the techniques used to make flashbacks clear and effective, and I had the class do a fun activity to put the new skills into use in a creative and entertaining activity. I had the students do a “circle writing” activity. I had done this in my lab and it went well. The students really seemed to enjoy the activity and had a good time sharing the wacky stories they had come up with. Each sentence was part of writing a flashback and was to use the techniques taught in class. I think the lesson went well, because I was able to end off the experience with both an educational, but interesting lesson. I think the students gained a good sense of the material and will be able to use it in other stories (ones that are actually coherent).
Something that didn’t go as expected was the difficulty in controlling the activity. I wouldn’t say it got out of hand, it just didn’t go the way I had planned. I wrote the activity structure on the board and I told the rules and expectations of the assignment while I was handing the activity sheet out and I think that this resulted in some students beginning before I instructed them to and some students went through the activity without my guided instruction to do so. It didn’t detract from the completion of the activity. It did mean that some students finished before others and there wasn’t time to do a larger class sharing of the assignments.
If I were to teach the lesson again, I would makes sure I handed out the activity sheet after I went through the expectations and rules of the activity. I would also use a shorter example in the beginning of the lesson in order to leave more room for the activity and for sharing afterward. I might also highlight the tone of the activity. Go through the idea of just writing the first thing that comes to mind and not worrying about being perfect. It can be easy to get hung up on typical classroom ideals. This activity was supposed to be somewhat liberating and make creative writing more free.
This week I learned that it can be easy to get wrapped up in the energy of the classroom. I want students to enjoy my lessons and I feel that I generate an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. I think that it is also important that I check in with students and make sure my expectations are always clear. I know what its like to over think and worry, so I feel it is part of my job to make sure my students never feel that they have to be unsure or worry. I will always be around to help and answer questions.